Importance of Public Authorities

Public Authorities (PA) fulfill consumer needs for In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) by creating greater access to care providers. Foundational to this process is maintaining a comprehensive provider registry that connects older adults and people with disabilities with Independent Care Providers (IPs) who can assist them maintain their independence safely in their own homes. This extends the quality of life for many Californians that would otherwise need more costly services in a healthcare facility.

In addition, each county Public Authority is responsible for:

  • Investigating the qualifications and background of potential providers
  • Establishing a referral system to connect consumers with the appropriate provider
  • Providing a variety of skilled training for consumers and providers
  • Negotiating provider wages and benefits with the labor unions
  • Seeking input from IHSS Advisory Committees and incorporating best practices into the operation of each county’s IHSS program

Public Authority Registry

All providers listed on the Registry have attended an introduction training, have been screened by PA staff, and have had their references checked. Additionally, they have:

  • Passed a California Department of Justice criminal background check
  • Had their social security number verified by the Social Security Administration
  • Successfully completed the state-mandated enrollment process to be cleared as eligible to work as an IHSS independent provider

The Registry assists IHSS consumers who need assistance acquiring an in-home caregiver by providing a referral list of qualified Registry IPs. It is the responsibility of the consumer, as the employer, to interview, select, hire, and supervise the IP to perform the tasks authorized by IHSS.

Provider Training

Provider training is designed to develop the skills necessary for providing quality in-home service and preventing injuries. The common goal is to support the providers with knowledge to share with their consumers. This training educates the providers to practice compassionate, quality healthcare in the consumers’ home while promoting wellbeing, independence, and dignity.

Classes are free and can be offered in person or virtual. Many PAs offer incentive payments to providers to encourage greater participation. Some examples of topics that are addressed include:

  • Infection Control
  • Mental Health
  • Nutrition
  • Alzheimer’s/Dementia
  • Fall Prevention
  • Stress Management
  • Safety
  • Self-Help

Provider Wages and Benefits Negotiations

Public Authorities were established by counties to fulfill the requirements of Welfare and Institutions Code § 12302.25, enabling them to act as the employee of record for IHSS for the purposes of wage and benefit negotiations.

  • Each Public Authority enters a collective bargaining process with the union representing IHSS workers and determines the wages and benefits for each county
  • The state reviews and approves the Public Authority rate for wages, health benefits, as well as any wage or benefit change that is locally negotiated, mediated, imposed, or adopted by ordinance before the changes can take effect

Advisory Committees/Governing Boards

Advisory Committee on In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) gives IHSS consumers a voice in how services are provided, to improve the availability and quality of IHSS, and to support services that enhance the lives of older adults and persons with disabilities who choose to live independently and with dignity in their own homes.

For more information read the IHSS Wages and Bargaining Brief.